Marie Kondo’s new television show, Tidying Up, is all the rage. I am all in favor of anything that inspires people to organize their lives. Even our teen daughter was inspired to organize her containers of slime in her craft area so that’s a win, right? Believe me I will take it.

I love how Marie Kondo takes quiet time to honor each family’s home. Everything she does brings the spirit of calm, respect, and empathy for the home, its belongings, and the people who reside within the walls. What I liked most about the show is how Marie Kondo teaches her clients how to appreciate what they have.

By expressing gratitude for what they have, people will attract more of what is good into their lives. By keeping only the items that spark joy, people are infusing their lives with what makes them happy rather than dragging down their energy with stuff that holds negative memories.



Organizing and de-cluttering is about so much more than merely getting rid of things. Great organizers honor the psychological backdrop in the process. They recognize that people hold on to things because they are sentimental, they are afraid of letting something go in case they need it one day or they don’t want to offend someone else. Find me a woman who doesn’t have a pair of skinny jeans and fat jeans sitting in her closet. I know I do.

My Concerns

Maybe it’s just reality TV, but I found a few of the episodes very perplexing. I watched as the woman who recently lost her husband emptied and organized her closet, the one she shared with her husband. It was heartbreaking to watch her take care of his belongings alone. Perhaps she chose to do so alone, but I feel strongly that either someone on Marie Kondo’s team or one of her three children should have been there to lend her moral support.

As I work with my clients on organizing their office spaces, I am either on site working side-by-side or following up in Zoom (video) sessions listening, encouraging, and cheer-leading. I think this is a crucial part of reorganizing a person’s work-life.

On another episode, a couple worked to drastically reduce clutter in their master bedroom. While she sorted a mountain of clothes on the bed, a process I thought was overwhelming at best, he organized the paperwork alongside his desk. His desk was located in their master bedroom as well.

The Clothing Mountain

While I think it’s important to visually appreciate how much stuff we have, for some clients a clothing mountain would be a stopping point. When I organize my closet, I take out a section at a time. You can choose one bar of hanging clothing or a shelf or maybe even two if you are feeling very motivated.

The idea is to start, no matter how small of a step you take. That is why I always encourage clients to start with their desks. Once you see the difference a clear desk can make in your ability to be productive, I know you will be more enthusiastic about tackling your files or books.

The Desk in the Bedroom – Just No

Now for the desk area. While the after video showed a dramatic reduction in paperwork now neatly stored in banker’s boxes, I grappled with two issues:
  1. I would have stored those boxes in another location outside of the bedroom, perhaps a closet, basement or attic.
  2. I would have relocated the desk closer to the closet area, which was further away from the bed. Then I would have added a screen to partition off the work space from the sleeping space.

Ideally, his desk would be located in another room such as the lower level, a spare bedroom or the dining room. A good night’s sleep affects everything about our day to day lives – our ability to be productive at work and our mood when interacting with friends and family. Desks, computers, phones and extensive piles of papers, even in boxes, do not belong in the bedroom.


I look forward to watching more episodes of “Tidying Up”. I believe that we, especially in the United States, are yearning for simplicity. Constantly being available or distracted by our phones means we rarely unplug. Giving away what we no longer need or use frees up space. Everything is energy. Not everything in my home sparks Joy”, but I still am happiest knowing that there is always a spare roll of toilet paper in the downstairs closet. Likewise it’s an unhappy moment in the office when you’re sending out a mailing and you’ve run out of envelopes.

My point is don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Take small steps in the direction you want to go. Use a system, whether that’s GTD (Getting Things Done), Kon Mari or Productive Environment – the primary system that I teach. You’ll enjoy your life more with less and with a system that works best for you.

If you’re ready to simplify your office and your work, contact me for an EPIC Productive Office Assessment.

To your success,


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Catherine Avery of Productivity by Design™ is the founder of 

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Catherine Avery
Productivity by Design
357 Commerce Drive, 1104
Fairfield CT, 06825.

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